If there’s one Marvel Cinematic Universe poster that I thought I’d never see again, it’s 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk”, since Edward Norton no longer plays Bruce Banner in the current MCU.
So it was a pleasant surprise to see it being given the prominence it deserves at “Marvel Studios: Ten Years of Heroes”, an exhibition at the ArtScience Museum that celebrates the past ten years of Marvel movies (and the upcoming “Ant-Man and the Wasp”). There are ten main galleries that spotlight the different major characters and teams in the Marvel Universe with several semi-educational posters to provide some learning points for children.
For audiences who were baffled by what happened in “Avengers: Infinity War”, “Marvel Studios: Ten Years of Heroes” is a good place to catch up on the major players and characters. Perhaps Iron Man and Captain America need no introduction, but since Doctor Strange and Black Panther have had only one solo movie apiece, it’s a chance to gain more insight into them and check out their costumes when they aren’t fighting for their lives.
Here’s a guide to make the most of your time there. If you’re unfamiliar with the movies, it’s best to read all the synopses of the MCU movies on display at the entrance to the exhibition, so that you have some background before entering.
It starts proper with the most iconic character in the MCU — Iron Man himself. There’ll be a display which projects Iron Man’s different armours onto a plain character model, so you should wait around and made sure you’ve seen them all before moving on. The third section on Captain America is relatively straightforward.
Secret section: Thor’s hammer
The fourth gallery may seem like a straightforward display of Thor and Hulk in “Thor: Ragnarok”, but you should turn left and look around for an alcove with Thor’s hammer in it. Some lightning effects can be activated by going near the hammer, and it’s one of the exhibits which you’re invited to touch (and pose with). It’s easy to miss this section, so don’t forget to look around once you see Thor!
For those who’ve missed the dancing Groot interactive display (where you dance and Groot mimics your movements), it’s back at the Guardians of the Galaxy section, along with a display of a cassette tape and an explainer about what a cassette tape is for those who were born in the last ten years.
The sixth section is about Doctor Strange, with an interactive display which isn’t quite as responsive as one would expect, especially not after meeting dancing Groot previously.
Black Panther’s section — slightly hazardous
If you’ve got energetic children with you, watch out as you enter the Wakandan section of the exhibit. There are several hard, semi-translucent plastic props sticking out, which are meant to emulate the defensive forcefields of Wakanda, and it’s possible to bump into one of them while turning a corner if you’re not careful.
You’ll need to bend down to properly enjoy the “Ant-Man and the Wasp” gallery next, which sees miniature figures of the titular characters behind magnifying glasses. You’ll need to position yourself just so in order to see them, so prepare yourself for a bit of squatting here.
The second last exhibit showcases Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet, with some details about each of the Infinity Stones.
The exhibition rounds up with a short highlights reel of the past ten years of MCU films. It’s not the same as the “AVENGERS S.TA.T.I.O.N.” exhibition at the Science Centre in 2014, so don’t expect much interactivity. It’s really more of a celebration of Marvel rather than an immersive journey where you get to take on the role of one or more of the characters.
Merchandise galore awaits after that.
The Infinity Gauntlet.
Good for new fans, but offers little for longtime fans
It’s a great exhibition for the younger ones and casual fans who want to know more about the movies, but there’s nothing new for longtime fans. But then, that’s what makes it a potential conversation starter for mixed groups of fans — it’s got enough to generate curiosity among new fans, which leaves room for older fans to provide some background about the films.
The “Marvel Studios: Ten Years of Heroes” exhibition will run from 9 June till 30 September 2018 at the ArtScience Museum.
Marcus Goh is a television scriptwriter, having written for popular shows like “Lion Mums”, “Crimewatch”, “Incredible Tales”, and “Police & Thief”. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. You can find him on social media as Optimarcus and on his site. The views expressed are his own.
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